19 ~ Ryan

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Even before Ryan opened his eyes, he knew something was wrong, specifically the heaviness on his chest, and the voice of a woman echoed over his head. It took a few seconds of blinking before he remembered he was in a motel in Alabama, and the heaviness turned out to be Felix with her hands wrapped around his neck.

"I'm not fucking doing it again," she swore as her fingers tightened. "I'm not your alibi. These are human beings not pieces of shit."

Ryan grabbed her hands, but she quickly jerked them away, cocking back to throw a punch. He caught one of her fists before it met with his temple, but her other fist found his jaw. All of this happened while her eyes were closed.

"Shit, Felix. Wake up!"

"Fuck you, Andy!"

"It's Ryan. I'm not going to hurt you." Ryan maneuvered Felix off his chest, straddling her as she tried to castrate him with her flailing legs.

"Take your hands off me, dickhead!"

"Wake up, Felix!" Ryan yelled into her face, and her eyelids slammed open. She took in his features with a wild, ruthless expression.

"What the hell is going on?"

"You were having a nightmare. It's Ryan, not Andy." He spoke over her, watching as the realization of his words slowly showed on her face.

"Ryan? Oh, damn. Not again."

"Gee, I was hoping for a little warmer greeting. I did just save you from an imaginary dickhead." He helped Felix sit up, and she pressed her palms to her eyes.

"I didn't mean it that way. I'm glad it was you waking me up and not the dickhead."

"Do you want to talk about it? I get the impression this isn't the first time you've tried to take someone out in your dreams."

With the effects of sleep still clouding her eyes, she peered through her tangled hair. "Did I hurt you?"

He moved his jaw back and forth. "I think I'll survive, but you've got a mean hook for someone who couldn't see who she was hitting."

A weak chuckle escaped her as she rested her head against his chest. He tucked her under his arm and leaned against the headboard. Ryan liked the way Felix felt in his arms, all soft and vulnerable, as opposed to a minute ago when she was trying to flay him.

"I'm sorry I hit you. I've had night terrors since the attack. I see a hypnotherapist to get rid of the disturbing memories. Sleep seems to bring out the stuff I haven't let go of yet."

"What kind of stuff? You were talking to Andy. It sounded like he was attacking you. He doesn't do that when you're not asleep, does he?"

Felix stared into the dark room, her body slumped heavily against him. "He loses his temper sometimes, like most men, but he isn't the only one who loses his temper. They all do, but they know I can't leave, so..."

"Assholes." Ryan cleared his throat when he realized he had insulted her boyfriend. "Sorry, Felix. I shouldn't say shit about your boyfriend...to your face."

"He's not my boyfriend anymore. I couldn't go back now even if I wanted to, and I don't want to."

So, Felix was officially unattached, and she hadn't lost her self-respect, based on her refusal to go back to the assholes. Of course, she was in danger of winding up on a morgue slab because she left the assholes. How much criminal activity was her ex really involved in?

"Felix, when you were talking in your sleep, you said something about not being the alibi for someone. Do you remember who you were talking to? Was it Andy?" Felix's body tensed, and when he tried to look at her face, she kept it turned away. "Listen, I know it's painful for you, but it will be easier for me to protect you if I know what you're privileged to."

"That's just the thing. I don't know what I'm privileged to." Felix finally letting him see her eyes, which were on the verge of spilling tears. "The hypnotherapy has been wiping out all my memories, not just about the attack, but about everything that goes down with Andy and his partners in crime. I've missed whole afternoons. My dreams seem to unearth stuff I'm not supposed to remember. I'm not even sure I believe my dreams anymore."

"Who is this hypnotherapist? We might be able to use..."

"No. He works for the organization. I found out about eight months ago. You won't get shit out of him."

Ryan shook his head, wishing he could wipe the floor with these assholes. "Well, you won't be seeing that hypnotherapist again, but we might be able to unlock some of your real memories by other means. I could keep a pad and pencil on my nightstand and take notes whenever you have a nightmare."

Felix dried her eyes on her tee shirt and offered him a smirk. "So, you're planning to share your bed with me when we get back to Chicago?"

Damn. He really knew how to dig himself a hole. "Well, I don't want you to keep sleeping on the couch. You'll end up with pain in the worst places, although I've noticed you're partial to the floor."

"Yeah. Night terrors are a bitch on the back."

Ryan pulled her body close and kissed her forehead. She smelled nice, despite the fact she hadn't showered since the puking incident. "We're going to put your life back together, Felix. I promise."

"Thanks, but I won't hold you to that promise. I know they're hard to keep."

"How about I start by promising not to be an asshole."

She burrowed her head under his chin. "That sounds like a great place to start."

PLAYLIST SONG: Make A Fist by Phantogram

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